Castle Films, whose series ‘The Adventure Parade’ resulted in a number of commercially exotic films on ethnic traditions and cultures, actually utilized authentic music in this film, instead of the boring orchestral scores that were more typical of the era. Although the continued use of the term "these little men", and the embarrassing attempt to comically portray an older member of the group as a cynic seems condescending to present-day sensibilities, the faithful recording of the building of a vine bridge 50 feet above the water is remarkable. Climbing 150 feet to the top of a riverside tree, a vine is fixed to an ingenious boatswain’s chair, and a member of the group is swung to a similar tree on the opposite side of the river. Over the next eight days, a complete bridge of several tons is built of vines, the crossing initiated by climbing either tree to the height of fifty feet. While such films represent proof that even sensationalist films of the era contained often superb ethnographic content, it also illustrates the frustration many of these cinematographers may have experienced in seeing their work dumbed-down for theatrical showing. Nevertheless, the documentary aspect of the footage is important, and represents an authentic, if somewhat clumsy attempt to portray significant elements of faraway cultures. ‘African Pygmy Thrills’ is historically significant for one other reason: feature filmmaker Werner Herzog has cited his viewing of this film, as a child, as the impetus for embarking on a career in film.
April 1, 2015 Subject:
Nicely done. Only mildly exploitive.
The Pygmy subjects are lauded for their strength, engineering skills and courage in this film, and you will agree with the filmmaker. The continued insistence on their being "little men", which gets annoying, is to remind the audience that they are Pygmys, people alien and strange-looking to themselves- presumably an enticement. The use of the word "thrills" also promises exciting exotica to lurid curiosity seekers. Of which, apparently, I am one.
September 19, 2009 Subject:
Pygmies Build NOT so Tiny bridge
In this short film see real pygmies build a bridge from available materials in the jungle; talk about small wonders...This film will not let you down...